James Hughes believes that a homeless shelter is entirely different from what many people assume it to be.

“It’s a place of hope. It’s the exact opposite of what it may seem to be from the outside. It’s a place where you can make a difference and that feeds my spirit and makes me feel that I’m spending my days wisely.”

The longtime head of The Old Brewery Mission and head of the Graham Boeck Foundation is one of three Montrealers being honoured for their good works by the Quebec Community Groups Network.

The group is bestowing the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Awards on Hughes as well as Marjorie Sharp and Eric Maldoff at a special ceremony tonight.

The three share a mutual desire to shatter the apathy towards social issues.

“If we intend to make a difference, we will,” said Hughes. “I think we have a chance to make this city, province, country so much better if we focus on solutions.”

Fellow honoree Maldoff has also injected tireless energy into improving conditions in Montreal.

Maldoff, a lawyer, founded Alliance Quebec in 1982 and encouraged rapprochement between English-speakers and the Parti Quebecois government.

His longtime friend Geoffroy Chambers said that Maldoff is not no pushover.

“He harnesses energy in a way that was startlingly effective,” said Chambers. “He has insightful strategies and can see what’s immovable and what’s not.”

Like Hughes, Maldoff is no friend of indifference. “When people stay silent when bad things are happening and remain silent when good things should be done, then bad things will happen. The only way to get things to move is to take the risks associated with it,” he told CTV Montreal.

Fellow lawyer Marjorie Sharp has an equally impressive resume after diving into a variety of philanthropic roles after moving to Canada from England.

Sharp has a long track records with the YWCA, Christ Church Cathedral, Auberge Madeleine and established L’Abri en Ville for people with mental health issues as well as Elder-Aide for seniors.

"She not only creates the projects, she thinks about them, she knows what to do, she goes out and does it," said her friend Joyce Blond.

"The house that I volunteer for, I get more from them because I'm busy I don't always have time," said Sharp.